MORE than 450 people packed Blackburn Cathedral yesterday to pay tribute to former borough Mayor Dorothy Walsh.

After the celebration of the life of 78-year-old Higher Croft councillor, who passed way on February 13, she was taken in a white hearse pulled by four red-plumed white horses to a family cremation at Pleasington.

Current Blackburn with Darwen Mayor Salim Mulla led the civic mourners at the funeral of his 2006/2007 predecessor.

Dean of Blackburn Christopher Armstrong, who took the service, said: “Dorothy transcended politics. She was a real figure in the town who was very kind to me when I came here.”

Blackburn MP Jack Straw, who read a lesson, said: “She was indefatigable and relentless in pursuing her aims.”

Coun Mulla said: “She was a wonderful woman happy to help anyone. We will miss her.”

Council leader Kate Hollern said: “There has been an overwhelming response to Dorothy’s passing.

“The service at the Cathedral was a fitting way for our borough to say a final goodbye to a former mayor with long service who gave so many years of service to the community.”

Fellow councillor Damian Talbot said: “It was a very moving service.”

Borough chief executive Harry Catherall and politicians of all parties joined with her family at the service which featured classic hymns including ‘Abide with Me’, ‘Guide me. O Thou Great Redeemer’ and ‘Praise my soul the King of Heaven’.

The tribute was given by Sonya Khan, daughter of last year’s Mayor Zamir Khan.